Ephrata man convicted of aggravated assault in May 28 stabbing

LANCASTER — A 36-year-old Ephrata man was convicted Thursday of repeatedly stabbing a 21-year-old man during an altercation in May, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Joel R. Benjamin, of the 900 block of Opal Street, was found guilty of felony aggravated assault after a four-day trial.

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro will sentence Benjamin on Feb. 21. Benjamin is at Lancaster County Prison on $1 million bail.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman told the jury that Benjamin turned a verbal argument with the victim into a near-deadly confrontation, using an 8-inch military-style knife.

Benjamin and the victim were arguing over a television in Benjamin’s bedroom on May 28, according to testimony. The victim, who was unarmed, threatened Benjamin, who armed himself with a knife and stabbed the victim seven times in the face, torso and back.

The victim underwent life-saving surgery at a local hospital. He will never regain full sight in his right eye, according to Fetterman.

The jury, after about 2½ hours of deliberation, returned a not-guilty verdict to a count of attempted homicide. With the guilty verdict, they convicted Benjamin of causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon.